The lot was nearly empty save for a few beat-up cars and an idling semi. He maneuvered the old pickup into place, made sure the button was up, and slammed its rusty, driver-side door. Walking toward the store he mused over having forgotten to turn off the coffee maker. Maybe it would blow a fuse and light the house on fire.
Shiny glass doors slid out of his way as he approached and he had an overwhelming urge to run into them. Animate lifeless things inspired a basic rage in him that he couldn't explain. "Maybe it's normal to want to destroy things that do a job with ruthless efficiency," he thought.
A few steps in he would wipe the ice and salt from his feet. All those miles of shimmering white tile made him cringe at the thought of proceeding without dragging his feet across the entire twenty feet of thick, black matting.
First stop was always the home goods section. He would wheel his way in amongst the towels and bedding and peruse for a while. A few bathmats, maybe some towels, an 800-count sheet set, and a few new pillows would find their way into the cart in an organized fashion. He had all of these items of course, but needed them just the same.
His route then took him through the freezer section, followed by the fruits and vegetables, the refrigerated section, and the deli. It was the most circuitous route he could think of and it allowed ample time for the ice cream to start its thaw.
He packed the cart full of milk and ice cream, large packs of chicken breast, ground beef and pounds of fresh produce. He selected super saver packs of cottage cheese and heavy cream along with an assortment of those maddeningly delicious Häagen Dazs ice cream pops-the ones that cost 8 bucks a pack and are totally worth every penny. The plastic mesh of his cart was bowing now under the weight and the cart seemed to grab the floor a bit harder as he pushed it through the bakery. The cakes, Danishes, donuts and muffins caught his nose and he had to toss several large boxes of each on top of his already burgeoning pile.
Next he set upon the magazine rack in the interest of killing a little time. His choices included, among others, a celebrity glossy with its fabulously interesting people; a football scouting rag touting the jumping abilities of a kid from a town of 300 in northern Nebraska; and a guitar magazine that promised to make him a speed metal god in 20 minutes. He settled on a soap weekly and threw it in amongst the other items.
The electronics aisle was a blaring display of television sets, video game consoles, stereos, and cordless phones. There was even a huge sale on pocket dictionaries, thesauri and foreign language translators. In protest he set one of the Latin translators on top of his gigantic stack of chicken breasts and pressed on to the office supplies section.
Sailing passed the mind-numbing assortment of stuff he descended into an endless scenario about wiping Whirlpool® appliances with Bounty® paper towels after applying Windex® wearing Adidas® sweat suits and Nike® sneakers listening to Apple® iPods through Sony® headphones while dreaming of Sandles® vacations and munching on Nestle® chocolate bars-it made him dream of getting his Glock® out and ruining his Sherwin Williams® paintjob.
At this particular time he was looking for a couple of heating pads—those ingenious little devices that heated the sore backs, necks and asses of the world. He selected two of the largest and plugged them in. They could have been used to transport a whale they were so massive. He held them for a minute to make sure they would heat up, just like he needed, then he crammed them deep into the cart between the pillows and sheet sets and the mountain of perishable food that he had accumulated.
Sitting in the parking lot he imagined the scenario. At some point the cart would be discovered-possibly because of the stench of rotting meat and dairy, or maybe because it was becoming a hazard to passersby. Maybe a mom of three would discover her son, covered in a gooey, brown liquid licking his fingers. Perhaps a manager would round the corner and crash into the "as seen on television" display, sending thousands of useful home goods skyward as he careened off shelving, mustache quivering, clip-on tie unclipping, comb-over uncovering, Velcro sneakers un-Velcro-ing.
This was more than a cleanup on aisle 74, this was justice-this was the musty and intoxicating needling of a faceless monster. Hell, his smoldering, cart filling, jagoffery would stick in the ass of more than a few people who felt it was their duty to care about efficiency and tidiness. Oh, his was the forcible pleasure of destroyed merchandise. Take that soul sucking community wrecker; up yours business bombing efficiency whore.
He had become so angry about losing his business that he suffered a break. Marie had packed her things and slammed the front door one last time. He spent months in odd repose-not talking, sleeping face down on the dining room floor. When the phone broke he found himself in the market for a new one; and a new coffee table, some Spackle, paint and a wrist brace. But the mania eventually ended as the reality of needing money set in.
He went to Lamont, and he made it to Benson in time for work where he pulled on his blue smock and reluctantly punched his time card. He had 6 hours ahead of him, but after that, well, the deals were calling.